If the Seattle Seahawks season continues as it has started, the franchise is likely headed for another offseason of speculation about Russell Wilson’s future. NBC Sports’ Peter King sees the Seahawks’ dismal season combined with Wilson’s injury as the potential tipping point for a breakup.
“It’s dumb to make any long-term judgments about a great player on such a rotten day, when Wilson returned after finger surgery and looked inaccurate and ineffective, getting shut out for the first time in 166 Seattle starts,” King detailed on November 15. “His receivers didn’t help him, rarely getting free enough for him to have a chance at a long gain. But as I watched the futility of this game, I just started thinking it might be time for the Seahawks to think of alternatives to Wilson, particularly if he gets mopey again next offseason.
“For now, with Seattle 3-6, Arizona looming next week, and San Francisco and the Rams on the horizon after that, making the playoffs will be tough.”
What would a hypothetical trade for Wilson land the Seahawks? The NFL insider believes the Seahawks could secure three first-round picks along with a potential star player for the franchise quarterback and sees the Panthers, Broncos, Steelers, Dolphins and Eagles as potential landing spots.
“Sabers were rattled last year by Wilson and his agent, and I just wonder if an 8-9 season might make Seattle GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll wonder if rewriting the script and getting three first-round picks and maybe one top player from a Carolina or Denver or Pittsburgh or Miami or Philadelphia is smarter than trying to keep Wilson happy,” King added. “Schneider is a confident man. He convinced Carroll that a short quarterback would be a star back in 2012, and Wilson in the third round followed. I doubt he’d be afraid of doing it again.”
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Wilson Has a No-Trade Clause & the Seahawks Would Eat a Massive Cap Hit With a 2022 Deal
Trading Wilson has a number of complications, and it is far from an ideal scenario for the Seahawks. Wilson is under contract through 2023 as part of his four-year, $140 million deal. The Seahawks do have a potential out after the season but would have to eat a $26 million dead cap hit, per Spotrac. The hit is less than it would have been in 2021, but it is still sizable enough for the Seahawks to resist a trade.
There is also the reality that Wilson has a no-trade clause which limits the potential deals the Seahawks could explore. Last offseason, Wilson’s agent Mark Rodgers released a list of four teams that the quarterback would sign off on a potential trade: Cowboys, Saints, Raiders and Bears.
Dallas signed Dak Prescott to a long-term extension shortly after Wilson’s list was released, and the Bears drafted Justin Fields. The Raiders do have Derek Carr, but Wilson would be an upgrade from their current situation. Given Jameis Winston’s injury, the Saints are the one team that make the most sense from a pure fit standpoint.
Will Wilson Hit the Nuclear Button by Demanding a Trade?
There is clearly a lot wrong with the Seahawks roster, but the least of which is Wilson. The Seahawks witnessed just how bad things could be without Wilson, who has made up for a lot of the team’s deficiencies, particularly on offense. The counter-argument is that the Seahawks could find a much cheaper option such as a rookie quarterback which would allow the front office to build a more complimentary roster.
Seattle’s offense may have been shutout against Green Bay, but Wilson is likely playing at less than 100% despite his emphasis that this not the case. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that Wilson only committed to playing for the Seahawks in 2021 as the quarterback temporarily patched things up with team prior to the start of the season.
“Meanwhile, Wilson showed up the earliest of the three [Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers], at the end of OTAs, with the agreement that he and the Seahawks would focus on ’21 with no promises past that,” Breer detailed.
If Wilson once again voices his displeasure this offseason, the Seahawks will be faced with two choices. The preferable path is for the Seahawks to play hardball by not trading their franchise quarterback and once again try to work on their differences. Wilson’s last resort would be to forcefully demand a trade, rather than passive aggressively floating a list of teams through his agent as he did earlier in 2021.
Time will tell if Wilson will hit the nuclear button, or if the quarterback will reaffirm his long-term commitment to the franchise despite Seattle’s subpar season.